File Type Apache HTACCESS File IconApache HTACCESS File
File Format Standard
Usage Referenced by an application; not meant to be opened manually
Rank ★ ★ ★  Common

Configuration file used by an Apache Web server that provides instructions for different directories of a website; "htaccess" is short for HTTP access, which is the protocol used for transmitting Web pages.

The .htaccess file can used to perform several important functions such as:

  • Define the index page of a directory (i.e. "index.html" or "index.php")
  • Specify the 404 (Page not found) error page
  • Perform 301 or 302 page redirects
  • Deny access from specific IP address or other websites
  • Restrict access to certain directories and pages
  • Execute MOD_REWRITE instructions
The .htaccess file is always named ".htaccess" and does not include a filename before the dot. It is placed in the root directory of a website and is processed by the Web server each time a Web page is accessed.

The Apache .htaccess Tutorial includes additional information about how and when to use .htaccess files.

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Updated 2007
Information from the PC File Extensions Reference